Florida wants NASA land to develop commercial spaceport
With an eye toward developing a commercial spaceport, Florida has asked NASA to transfer 150 acres of land north of the shuttle launch pads and the shuttle runway to Space Florida, the state's aerospace development agency. Similar commercial spaceports are set up in New Mexico, where Virgin Galactic, an offshoot of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, plans to fly a fleet of suborbital passenger spaceships, as well as Alaska, Virginia and California. [Source: Reuters]
If you vote early in an election in Florida, it's there for the world to see: The Legislature requires an online listing of everyone who voted early and when and where they voted. But if you vote by mail and request an absentee ballot, it's a closely held secret, available to a few. The practice of "chasing" absentee voters with direct mail and phone calls is a key strategic component of any effective campaign. Yet, as it grows in popularity in Florida, absentee voting is more prone to fraud and other problems as ballots pass through many pairs of hands. Times/Herald explains why.
Retirees drawn by an endless array of activities, entertainment and dining options continue to flock to The Villages, where a new retail and commercial section featuring an Old Florida theme is about to open to accommodate the burgeoning population. The retirement community 60 miles northeast of Orlando is pushing 100,000 residents as it mushrooms into rural Wildwood, where construction on the third town square is taking place. Plans call for about 1.3 million square feet of retail space, more than 14,000 square feet of office space, a 200-room hotel and a 300-bed hospital. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Improvements at Bradley Airport in Connecticut could serve as a blueprint for Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, which is reeling from the August loss of AirTran Airways, its second-biggest carrier and the airline that pressured legacy carriers like Delta and US Air to keep a lid on fares and expand routes. Bradley Airport is similar to Sarasota-Bradenton in that it is wedged between two cities with larger airports. As a result, developing land around the terminal could be a boon. In some respects, that has already begun. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune and NY Times]
For years, there's been a call for a regional effort to attract businesses to Southwest Florida. A new alliance aims to answer that call. On Friday, The Partnership for Collier's Future Economy, an arm of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, signed what it described as a historic agreement with Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero and the Horizon Council, a public-private partnership that advises Lee County commissioners on economic development. The partners will share information and resources. They also will work together to gather the information sought by professionals who help businesses relocate and expand. [Source: Naples Daily News]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Gov. Scott retooling his education image [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Rick Scott now says that job creation and education improvement have equal importance in his mind.
› Equity firm denies $1 billion real estate spending spree [Tampa Tribune]
Blackstone Group officials disavowed an article in Friday's Tampa Bay Times that said it plans to spend $1 billion buying upwards of "15,000 homes in Tampa Bay over the next three years." Instead, Blackstone Senior Managing Director Peter Rose confirmed Tampa is one of about 20 U.S. cities Blackstone is evaluating for a fund that targets distressed homes.
› Florida's U.S. Senate race is heating up [Orlando Sentinel]
In recent days, the Mack and Nelson campaigns have switched to more issues-oriented commercials — and their long-term strategies are becoming clearer.
› Craft breweries slowly bring beer revolution to S. Florida [Sun-Sentinel]
As of this summer, 922 craft breweries were operating in the United States. South Florida is home to three of them. The three differ in brewing style and atmosphere. From Trend: Beer gardens at the head of the class
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› Medicare cuts to eliminate 36,000 jobs; Hospitals prepare [Daily News]
Southwest Florida hospital leaders are bracing for Medicare cuts that a study says could result in the loss of nearly 36,000 health-care jobs in Florida next year.
› Human and Machine Cognition names new board member [News-Journal]
Alain T. Rappaport, a scientist and Internet and software entrepreneur, has been named to the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition board of directors.
› Arts leaders weigh in on how to take Miami to the next level [Herald]
Miami's cultural immaturity is both an excuse for its shortcomings and a reason to cheer.
› Republican Party works to remove state Supreme Court justices [Times]
The Republican Party of Florida waded into a traditionally apolitical fight Friday, announcing it will oppose the retention of three state Supreme Court justices on the November ballot.
› 408 is 'cash cow' of Orlando toll system [Sentinel]
The 22-mile-long road brings in 41 percent of the tolls, or more than $108 million during the 2011 fiscal year. About $158 million was collected on the remaining 83 miles of the system. Take the 408 out of the mix and there would not be enough tolls coming in to cover the debt the expressway incurred to build and maintain the system.
› Lawsuit: Digital Domain had no chance [Palm Beach Post]
In a shareholder suit spawned by the collapse of Digital Domain Media Group, an investor accuses former Chairman and Chief Executive John Textor of fraud and “materially false and misleading statements” in his public pronouncements about the company.